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Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC): Making Gaming Accessible

For many years, gamers with mobility disabilities have taken it upon themselves to find external devices when it comes to adaptive gameplay. Gamers not only have the struggle of finding their own adaptive devices, but also of setting them up. Gamers also have to test any homemade adaptive devices with their console. However, Microsoft recently unveiled the new Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC), a device that has changed accessible gaming. More importantly, it has brought gaming accessibility to a whole new level.

What is the Xbox Adaptive Controller?

The XAC is a large, cordless, rectangular pad with Bluetooth. It can be paired with an Xbox or a computer. Not only does this device work as a controller, but it also works as a central hub to connect external adaptive devices gamers currently use.

How Does the Xbox Adaptive Controller Work?

Gamers connect their own devices, such as:

  • Joysticks
  • Buttons
  • Pedals

The device also acts as a controller, which gamers can use with their:

  • Hands
  • Elbows
  • Feet

The XAC works either alone or alongside the standard controller. Gamers can tailor their layouts according to their mobility capabilities. For example, gamers can use the XAC as a button for their elbow if they lack mobility in their arms or hands. Wheelchair users can mount the device onto their wheelchairs or have it on the floor.

Additionally, on the back of the Xbox adaptive controller there are 19 inputs. Each input represents a button that would be on a standard controller. Gamers can attach their own devices to these inputs. Also, they can move their devices between inputs live without pausing the game.

Bear in mind, not all 19 inputs need to be used at the same time. Each gamer can use whatever inputs work for them. For example, some gamers may only need 1 or 2 external devices while using the standard controller.

How Does the XAC Affect the World of Accessible Gaming?

The XAC makes it easier for gamers with mobility impairments to use their own devices, whether they be homemade or purchased. Gamers can configure their setup according to their needs, which makes gaming accessible to everyone.

The XAC is Convenient

The XAC doesn’t require the purchase of new external devices. Gamers can use their existing devices, as long as they fit into the provided ports.

Not only does the XAC offer convenience with the product itself, but the packaging is even accessible. The packaging includes plastic loops and several access points to make opening the package easier. The packaging does not include items that make it difficult to open, such as typical packaging has:

  • Tape
  • Plastics
  • Twist ties

Making Gaming Inclusive

This is only the start of a new venture in the gaming world. It is about time a large tech company stepped up to the plate and created a product for adaptive gameplay for people with mobility impairments. Hopefully, other companies will start thinking about how they can make not only games, but indeed all technology, more accessible.